(Philadelphia, PA) - The National Institutes of
Health (NIH) has awarded the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine $68 million over the next five years,
along with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Institutional
commitments of $30 million bring the Philadelphia consortium’s
total to nearly $100 million.
In addition to the Philadelphia collaboration, 11 other academic
health centers throughout the nation are receiving these awards.
An additional 52 institutions are receiving planning grants to help
them prepare applications to join the consortium. When fully implemented
in 2012, about 60 institutions will be linked together to energize
the discipline of clinical and translational science.
NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD, today announced the launch of
this national consortium that will transform how translational biomedical
research is conducted. This new consortium is funded through NIH
Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs). “The development
of this consortium represents the first systematic change in our
approach to clinical research in 50 years,” says Zerhouni.
“Working together, these sites will serve as discovery engines
that will improve medical care by applying new scientific advances
to real-world practice. We expect to see new approaches reach underserved
populations, local community organizations, and health care providers
to ensure that medical advances are reaching the people who need
“This award to the School of Medicine and its collaborators
will help us use our biomedical research and medical education programs
to benefit our patients even more greatly,” says Arthur
Rubenstein, MBBCh, Executive Vice President of the University
of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean, School of Medicine.
“It will enhance the development of interdisciplinary structures
designed to foster and facilitate research and education in the
emerging discipline of translational medicine.”
“The Philadelphia collaboration will act as a vital catalyst
for us to undertake a programmatic transformation heralded two years
ago by the foundation of the Institute for Translational Medicine
and Therapeutics,” says Garret FitzGerald, MD,
Director of the Institute and and principal investigator of the
CTSA. “Crucially, the award application process has engaged
the School of Medicine with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,
the Wistar Institute, and the University of the Sciences of Philadelphia,
along with eight other schools at Penn to form a truly interdisciplinary
alliance to facilitate clinical and translational research. Our
major educational investment will support the emergence of a new
breed of investigators who will realize the fruits of basic research
and deliver them to the community in the years to come.” In
addition to educational goals, the Philadelphia translational medicine
alliance will develop better designs for clinical trials; design
new and improved clinical research informatics tools; expand outreach
to minority and medically undeserved communities; and forge new
partnerships with private and public health care organizations.
“Children’s Hospital is delighted to be among the first
of pediatric hospitals benefiting from CTSAs and we look forward
to participating in this interdisciplinary alliance with Penn and
the other partners to advance the infrastructure and efficiency
of research,” says Peter Adamson, MD, Director, Office of
Clinical and Translational Research at Children’s Hospital.
“Penn and Children’s Hospital have a long history of
collaboration between investigators, but by combining efforts under
the CTSA, the depth and breadth of infrastructure support will advance
the pace and foster new areas of critical research.”
One example of how the grant will streamline research is by development
of a sophisticated approach to improving the effective use of medications
for pediatric patients. Computerized programs can combine data from
laboratory studies, results and findings from related drugs, and
using highly sophisticated mathematical modeling and simulation
techniques, help researchers predict the most effective dosages
and delivery methods for particular drugs. “We can take a
promising new molecule and expedite some of the more laborious,
time-consuming traditional methods to provide a systematic approach
to estimating drug dosages before we use those doses in patients
enrolling on a clinical trial,” says Adamson.
The CTSA grant will enable Children's Hospital to reach a new level
of informatics technology with the creation of a “E-Port,”
a cross-institutional website that will guide researchers through
the regulatory and approval process and create a central location
for all documentation, thus making the business of conducting research
streamlined and more efficient.
The Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT
) at Penn anticipated many aspects of this new initiative, among
them, inclusion of the NIH-funded Penn and Children’s Hospital
General Clinical Research Centers, dedicated “dry” and
“wet” bench space for translational research, and a
robust educational program, based on an MS degree in Translational
Research, within the institute.
ITMAT, designated as the “academic home” for clinical
and translational research, has been broadened to serve a transinstitutional
role. Its structure has been transformed to foster interdisciplinary
science from discovery of new molecules through to the study of
drug action in large populations. This change has been accomplished
by developing interdisciplinary centers, related cores, innovative
interdisciplinary programs of research, and strategies to engage
and inform communities and their physicians. A particular emphasis
has been placed on interdisciplinary training and on broadening
the reach of the educational initiatives to span from undergraduate
students to mature clinicians and scientists.
PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise
dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical
research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists
of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in
1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of
Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt
of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S. News
& World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented
medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students,
the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior
education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists
and leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals,
all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors [Hospital
of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's
first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice
plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite
facilities; and home care and hospice.